|Years of minting||1661–1722|
|Design||Kangxi Tongbao (康熙通寶)|
Kangxi Tongbao (traditional Chinese :康熙通寶; simplified Chinese :康熙通宝; pinyin :kāng xī tōng bǎo) refers to an inscription used on Manchu Qing dynasty era cash coins produced under the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. Under the Kangxi Emperor the weights and standards of the brass cash coins changed several times and the bimetallic system of Qing dynasty coinage was established. Today Kangxi Tongbao cash coins are commonly used as charms and amulets where different forms of superstition have developed arounds its mint marks and calligraphy.
A notable characteristic is that the outer rim on Kangxi Tongbao cash coins on both sides of the coin tend to be quite wide, in contrast to that of the square center hole (方穿, fāng chuān). Apart from the two mints in the capital city of Beijing operated by the central government, there were mints in operation in most provinces of the Qing dynasty and in some even two, however these were only sometimes open and many were forced to close down at were later re-opened at various times during the Kangxi period.
After the Manchus occupied Beijing in 1644 the government of the Qing dynasty began the production of the Shunzhi Tongbao (順治通寶) cash coins modeled after the Huichang Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins (會昌開元通寶錢) of the Tang dynasty and the Dazhong Tongbao (大中通寶) and Hongwu Tongbao (洪武通寶) of the early Ming dynasty. Like these cash coins the Shunzhi Tongbao used mint marks in the form of a single Chinese character on the reverse side of the coin to indicate their origin. Other types of Shunzhi Tongbao were also cast creating a total of 5 different types. ᠪᠣᠣ" (Boo) on the left which were used for cash coins produced at the Ministry of Revenue and Ministry of Public Works.Under the Kangxi Emperor only two of these types were retained, one type had a Manchu characters on the left side of the reverse and a Chinese character on the right side of the reverse to indicate the mint of production and was used for provincial mints. And the other type had the name of the mint in Manchu on the right side with the character "
In the year Kangxi 1 (or the Gregorian year 1662) all provincial mints in the Qing dynasty were closed down with the exception of the Jiangning Mint. Meanwhile in Kangxi 5 (1667) all provincial mints would re-open again but three years later a large number of them would close down due to the high price of copper in China at the time. The Guangzhou Mint in Guangdong started casting Kangxi Tongbao cash coins with a weight of 1.4 Mace (1 mace = 3.73 gram) in the year Kangxi 7 (1668) which was heavier than those in many other provinces.Those responsible for the transportation of copper rarely made the mints in time, and while copper prices were rising daily the Ministry of Revenue still maintained a fixed rate of exchange between copper and silver causing many provincial mints to quickly lose money, while on paper they were still profitable.
A mint was established in Tainan, Taiwan in the year 1689 but it didn't produce much cash coins and was closed down in 1692, for this reason Taiwanese Kangxi Tongbao coins tend to be very rare today. Kangxi Tongbao cash coins produced in the province of Yunnan are notably quite reddish in colour, there were at least seven different mints in existence in Yunnan Province during the Kangxi period. After the governor of the Yunnan and Guizhou found out that there were so much brass cash coins produced by the Yunnan Mints. The high supply of the brass cash coins had caused the price of the cash coins relative to silver to reduce. The government needed to pay 30% of cash coins instead of silver as military salary. This proved to be very inconvenient for the soldiers. This later caused disturbances to arise in the military. After the governor of these provinces put down the trouble, he urged the government to cease the production of cash coins in the province of Yunnan and to pay the soldiers exclusively in silver. All the Yunnan Mints were then closed down in the year Kangxi 28 (1689).Between the years 1674 and 1681 during the Revolt of the Three Feudatories the province of Yunnan was in the hands of the rebel Wu Sangui and later his grandson Wu Shifan who cast his own cash coins with their own inscriptions there, these cash coins didn't use the same mint marks as the Kangxi Tongbao.
In 1684 the ratio of copper to zinc in the alloys in the Kangxi Tongbao cash coins was reduced from 70% to 60% all while the standard weight was lowered to 1 qián again and were known as Zhongqian (重錢), while the central government's mints in Beijing started producing cash coins with a weight of 0.7 qián known as Xiaoqian (小錢) or Qingqian (輕錢). The Kangxi Tongbao was officially fixed against silver with a ratio of 1000 Zhongqian per tael of silver in an attempt to establish a bimetallic system.The Xiaoqian were only worth 0.7 tael of silver per string of 1000 coins (which would equate to 14.3 Xiaoqian per fen of silver), however by the middle of the eighteenth century the Xiaoqian disappeared from circulation.
By 1702 all provincial mints were closed again due to the aforementioned circumstances.
Under the Kangxi Emperor cash coins with the inscription Kangxi Tongbao were produced with both a Chinese character and a Manchu character on the reverse side of the coin at provincial mints,while the Ministries of Revenue and Public Works in the city of Beijing, Zhili exclusively used Manchu characters.
|Mint mark||Möllendorff||Responsible ministry||Image|
|Boo Ciowan||Ministry of Revenue (hùbù, 戶部), Beijing|
|Boo Yuwan||Ministry of Public Works (gōngbù, 工部), Beijing|
|同||同|| Datong garrison,|
|臨||临|| Linqing garrison,|
|宣||宣|| Xuanhua garrison,|
|薊||蓟|| Jizhou garrison,|
|西||西||Shanxi provincial mint|
In 1713 a special Kangxi Tongbao (康熙通寶) cash coin was issued to commemorate the sixtieth birthday of the Kangxi Emperor,these bronze coins were produced with a special yellowish colour, and these cash coins believed to have "the powers of a charm" immediately when it entered circulation, this commemorative coin contains a slightly different version of the Hanzi symbol "熙", at the bottom of the cash, as this character would most commonly have a vertical line at the left part of it but did not have it, and the part of this symbol which was usually inscribed as "臣" has the middle part written as a "口" instead. Notably, the upper left area of the symbol "通" only contains a single dot as opposed of the usual two dots used during this era. Several myths were attributed to this coin over the following three-hundred years since it has been cast such as the myth that the coin was cast from molten down "golden" (brass) statues of the 18 disciples of the Buddha which earned this coin the nicknames "the Lohan coin" and "Arhat money" because the Kangxi Emperor was intimately involved with Christian missionaries and developed a contempt for Buddhism. These commemorative kāng xī tōng bǎo cash coins were given to children as yā suì qián (壓歲錢) during Chinese new year, some women wore them akin to how an engagement ring is worn today, and in rural Shanxi young men wore this special kāng xī tōng bǎo cash coin between their teeth like men from cities had golden teeth. Despite the myths surrounding this coin it was made from a copper-alloy and did not contain any gold but it was not uncommon for people to enhance the coin with gold leaf. According to David Hartill this myth was first reported around the year 1851 in China and attributes this to similar stories which were circulating about the "Bun" Kan'ei Tsūhō cash coins from Japan at the time.
Chinese poem coins (Traditional Chinese: 詩錢; Simplified Chinese: 诗钱; Pinyin: shī qián, alternatively 二十錢局名) were Chinese cash coins cast under the Kangxi Emperor,a Manchu Emperor known for his Chinese poetry skills and wrote the work "Illustrations of Plowing and Weaving" (耕織圖) in 1696. Under the Kangxi Emperor 23 mints operated at various times with many closing and reopening, the coins produced under the Kangxi Emperor all had the obverse inscription Kāng Xī Tōng Bǎo (康熙通寶). As the name Kangxi was composed of the characters meaning "health" (康) and "prosperous" (熙) the Kāng Xī Tōng Bǎo cash coins were already viewed as having auspicious properties by the Chinese people. As the Kāng Xī Tōng Bǎo cash coins were produced at various mints some people placed these coins together to form poems, even though many of these poems did not have any meaning they were composed in adherence to the rules of Classical Chinese poetry. These coins were always placed together to form the following poems:
|同福臨東江||tóng fú lín dōng jiāng|
|宣原蘇薊昌||xuān yuán sū jì chāng|
|南寧河廣浙||nán níng hé guǎng zhè|
|台桂陝雲漳||tái guì shǎn yún zhāng|
It was arranged by a Chinese private coin collector using the different mint marks to form a type of a Chinese poetry during the Qianlong period and it has now become the favourite target of collection for many coin collectors in Mainland China and Taiwan.
According to an old Chinese superstition the strung "charm" of twenty coins also known as "set coins" (套子錢) only worked if all coins were genuine and this could be tested by placing them on a chicken-coop and if the cocks did not crow during the early morning. As carrying twenty coins together was seen as less than convenient new charms were being produced that had the ten of the twenty mint marks on each side of the coin, unlike the actual cash coins that they're based on these charms tend to have round holes in the middle and are also round in shape. Sometimes they were painted red as the colour red is viewed to be auspicious in Chinese culture. Sometimes these coins had obverse inscriptions wishing for good fortunes and the twenty mint marks on their reverse, these inscriptions include:
|金玉滿堂||"may gold and jade fill your halls."|
|大位高升||"may you be promoted to a high position."|
|五子登科||"may your five sons achieve great success in the imperial examinations."|
|福祿壽喜||"good fortune, emolument (official salary), longevity, and happiness."|
|吉祥如意||"may your good fortune be according to your wishes."|
Kāng Xī Tōng Bǎo cash coins produced at the Ministry of Revenue and the Ministry of Public Works in the capital city of Beijing are excluded from these poems.
Because of the popularity of the Kangxi poem coins many later versions of the poem coins were made where the Kangxi era mint marks are used but other inscriptions such as the Yongzheng Tongbao, Daoguang Tongbao, Guangxu Tongbao, Etc. are used on the obverse.
Coin-swords made from Qing dynasty cash coins with the inscription Kangxi Tongbao are considered to be the most effective, this is because the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty lasted an entire 60 year cycle of the Chinese calendar and thus according to feng shui cash coins with this inscription represent "longevity".
Southern Tang, later known as Jiangnan (江南), was an empire in Southern China and one of the so-called Ten Kingdoms between the fall of the Tang in 907 and the start of the Song dynasty in 960. Southern Tang replaced the Wu empire when Li Bian deposed the emperor Yang Pu.
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Cash was a type of coin of China and East Asia, used from the 4th century BC until the 20th century AD, characterised by their round outer shape and a square center hole. Originally cast during the Warring States period, these coins continued to be used for the entirety of Imperial China as well as under Mongol and Manchu rule. The last Chinese cash coins were cast in the first year of the Republic of China. Generally most cash coins were made from copper or bronze alloys, with iron, lead, and zinc coins occasionally used less often throughout Chinese history. Rare silver and gold cash coins were also produced. During most of their production, cash coins were cast, but during the late Qing dynasty, machine-struck cash coins began to be made. As the cash coins produced over Chinese history were similar, thousand year old cash coins produced during the Northern Song dynasty continued to circulate as valid currency well into the early twentieth century.
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The Kaiyuan Tongbao, sometimes romanised as Kai Yuan Tong Bao or using the archaic Wade-Giles spelling K'ai Yuan T'ung Pao, was a Tang dynasty cash coin that was produced from 621 under the reign of Emperor Gaozu and remained in production for most of the Tang dynasty until 907. The Kaiyuan Tongbao was notably the first cash coin to use the inscription tōng bǎo (通寶) and an era title as opposed to have an inscription based on the weight of the coin as was the case with Ban Liang, Wu Zhu and many other earlier types of Chinese cash coins. The Kaiyuan Tongbao's calligraphy and inscription inspired subsequent Central Asian, Japanese, Korean, Ryūkyūan, and Vietnamese cash coins and became the standard until the last cash coin to use the inscription "通寶" was cast until the early 1940s in French Indochina.
The Zhengde Tongbao is a fantasy cash coin, Chinese, and Vietnamese numismatic charm bearing an inscription based on the reign title of the Zhengde Emperor of the Ming dynasty. The Zhengde Emperor reigned from the year 1505 until 1521, however during this period no circulating cash coins were minted. There were a large amount "cash coins" bearing the Zhengde era name are minted from the late Ming to early Qing dynasty periods as superstitious "lucky coins" with auspicious depictions and instructions, as this inscription remained popular for charms modern reproductions of the Zhengde Tongbao are also very common.
The Hongwu Tongbao was the first cash coin to bear the reign name of a reigning Ming dynasty Emperor bearing the reign title of the Hongwu Emperor. Hongwu Tongbao cash coins officially replaced the earlier Dazhong Tongbao coins, however the production of the latter did not cease after the Hongwu Tongbao was introduced. The government of the Ming dynasty placed a greater reliance on copper cash coins than the Yuan dynasty ever did, but despite this reliance a nationwide copper shortage caused the production of Hongwu Tongbao cash coins to cease several times eventually leading to their discontinuation in 1393 when they were completely phased out in favour of paper money. In the year 1393 there were a total of 325 furnaces in operation in all provincial mints of China which had an annual output of 189,000 strings of cash coins which was merely 3% of the average annual production during the Northern Song dynasty.
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The coinage of the Great Shu Kingdom is the earliest known coinage produced by a peasant revolt in the history of China, the revolt lasted from 993 until 995 and during this period a small number of cash coins were produced by the peasant rebellion using the era names of the rebel leader Li Shun. It was only with the strongest military efforts that the Song dynasty was able to suppress the rebellion and restore their rule over the Shu region. The coinage produced by the Da Shu Kingdom is often rather roughly produced and as the rebellion only lasted a few years not many cash coins were produced leading to them being extremely rare today.
Qianlong Tongbao is an inscription used on cash coins produced under the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty. Initially the Qianlong Tongbao cash coins were equal to its predecessors in their weight and quality but as expensive military expenditures such as the Ten Great Campaigns began to take their financial toll on the government of the Qing dynasty the quality of these cash coins started to steadily decrease. The weight of the Qianlong Tongbao was changed several times and tin was added to their alloy to both reduce costs and to prevent people from melting down the coins to make utensils. As the intrinsic value of these coins was higher than their nominal value many provincial mints started reporting annual losses and were forced to close down, meanwhile the copper content of the coinage continued to be lowered while the copper mines of China were depleting. The Qianlong era also saw the conquest of Xinjiang and the introduction of cash coins to this new region of the Qing Empire.
Bingqian, or Bingxingqian, is a term, which translates into English as "biscuit coins", "pie coins", or "cake coins", used by Chinese and Taiwanese coin collectors to refer to cash coins with an extremely broad rim as, these cash coins can also be very thick. While the earliest versions of the Bingqian did not extraordinarily broad rims.
Buddhist coin charms are a category of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese numismatic charms that depict Buddhist religious imagery or inscriptions. These coin charms often imitate the design of Chinese cash coins, but can exist in many different shapes and sizes. In these countries similar numismatic charms existed for Confucianism and Taoism, and at times Buddhist coin charms would also incorporate symbolism from these other religions.
Standard cash, or regulation cash coins, is a term used during the Ming and Qing dynasties of China to refer to standard issue copper-alloy cash coins produced in imperial Chinese mints according to weight and composition standards that were fixed by the imperial government. The term was first used for Hongwu Tongbao cash coins following the abolition of large denomination versions of this cash coin series.
"Red cash coins" are the cash coins produced in Xinjiang under Qing rule following the conquest of the Dzungar Khanate by the Manchus in 1757. While in Northern Xinjiang the monetary system of China proper, with standard cash coins, was adopted in Southern Xinjiang where the pūl (ﭘول) coins of Dzungaria circulated earlier the pūl-system was continued but some of the old Dzungar pūl coins were melted down to make Qianlong Tongbao (乾隆通寶) cash coins, as pūl coins were usually around 98% copper they tended to be very red in colour which gave the cash coins based on the pūl coins the nickname "red cash coins".
Iron cash coins are a type of Chinese cash coin that were produced at various times during the monetary history of imperial China. Iron cash coins were often produced in regions where the supply of copper was insufficient, or as a method of paying for high military expenditures at times of war, as well as for exports at times of trade deficits.